Sunday, July 27, 2008

The theme of chapter three is the availability of a righteousness from God

In the first section we have God's judgment being defended:

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? [Rom. 3:1].

"Profit" means that which is surplus, that which is excess, and the Question has to do with the outward badge of God’s special covenant with the Jews, circumcision.
It looks as if Paul is in danger of erasing a distinction which God has made. The question is, if Jew and Gentile are on the same footing before God, what then is the supposed advantage of the Jew and what good is circumcision? Paul is saying, "Yes, the Jew has an advantage." The advantage, however, created a responsibility. We need to note carefully the advantage the Jew had because there is a great deal of confusion in this area.

Paul is making it clear that God not only gave to the nation Israel the oracles of God—they were the ones who communicated the Word of God—but in the Word of God was something special for them, promises, not yet fulfilled, and peculiarly their own.

The Jew failed; doesn’t that mean God failed? No. God’s promise to send Israel the Redeemer was not defeated by their willful disobedience and rejection. All His promises for the future of the nation will be fulfilled to His glory in spite of their unbelief. I personally thank God that His promises to me do not depend on my faithfulness. If it had depended on me, I would have been lost long ago.

Now, the whole point is this: if my unrighteousness reveals the marvelous, wonderfully infinite faithfulness of God in the grace of God, then has God a right to judge me? That’s what Paul is asking here. This makes it very clear that the unsaved world in Paul’s day understood that Paul was preaching salvation by the grace of God.

Secondly we have that, "all have sinned."

What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin [Rom. 3:9].

Now Paul doesn’t mean "proved" here. That word is a little too strong; it does not have quite that shade of meaning, because Paul is not trying to prove man a sinner. Rather, he is showing that God judges sin. He assumes man is a sinner, and you don’t have to assume it—it is evident. He is merely stating that which is very obvious today. The better word is charged—“for we have before charged both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.” He is just stating the case, by the way, that it doesn’t make any difference who we are today—high or low, rich or poor, good or bad—we’re all under sin.

Third is God's righteousness through faith:

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets [Rom. 3:21].

"The righteousness of God" should be a righteousness of God, since the article is absent in the Greek. This "righteousness" is not an attribute of God—He says that He will not share His glory with another—nor is it the righteousness of man. God has already said that “… our righteousness is as filthy rags …” (Isa. 64:6), and God is not taking in dirty laundry.

And lastly: boasting excluded:

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith [Rom. 3:27].

If God is saving by faith in Christ and not by your merit, your works, then where is boasting? What is it that you and I have to crow about? We can’t even boast of the fact that we’re fundamental in doctrine. We have nothing to glory in today. Paul asks, “Where is boasting then?” And he answers the question he raises.
“It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Romans Chapter One

Today we start the Book of Romans. Chapter one's theme is Paul's personal greetings, Paul's purpose, Paul's three "I ams"; a natural revelation of God; subnatural response of man; and the unnatural retrogression of man.

Romans teaches the total depravity of man. Man is irrevocably and hopelessly lost. He must have the righteousness of God since he has none of his own. Verses 16 an 17 have long been recognized as the key to the epistle. These two verses should be memorized and the meaning of each word digested.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.
Paul starts off by identifying himself as a slave, or doulos, of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the road to Damascus, the Lord said to Paul, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” And Paul replied, “Who art thou, Lord?” He said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” It was at this moment that Paul came to know Him as his Savior. Then Paul’s question was, “What wilt thou have me to do?” (see Acts 9:4–6). This is when Paul made himself a bondslave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Verse 6, the called are the elect. Who are the called? Well, they are those who have heard. The Lord Jesus made it clear when He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

Paul's purpose: He wants to come to Rome to teach the Word of God. Paul loved to teach the Word of God.

His three "I am's": Paul said, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians.” He had had a personal transaction with Jesus Christ which put him in debt to every man, because the grace of God had been so bountifully bestowed upon him. Paul was in debt to a lost world. Second "I am": In verse 15: "I am ready to preach the gospel...." Paul has said that he is a debtor; now he says he is ready to pay. The third "I am" is the bock quote I gave at the beginning.

The natural revelation of God: The wrath of God is revealed.” Actually, if you want to know what salvation really is, you have to know how bad sin is. In other words, “Sin is the measure of salvation.”

The subnatural response of man: Verses 21-23... There is no such thing as man moving upward. Man is not improving physically, morally, intellectually, or spiritually. The pull is downward. Of course this contradicts all the anthologies of religion that start with man in a very primitive condition and move him up intellectually and toward God.

The unnatural regression of man: Now we see the results of man’s revolution against God. In the remainder of this chapter it says three times that God gave them up.
Man has a revelation from God, but he flagrantly flaunts it by defying the judgment of God against such sins. He continues to practice them and applauds and approves those who do the same.

As usual, when I want pictures, Blogger shows me who's boss!